xiao long bao

by Anne Grace on December 22, 2012

We were having a potluck get-together at my place – just because we can. I was craving for char siew bao while AB was craving for XLB.

We decided to make both. Us and a couple other girls.

It was awesome.

Make your own XLB. Tedious. But soooo worth it. You make a gazillion of them at a fraction of the cost.

Seriously, whoever thought of making dumplings that ooze juices is ingenious. Who would have thought of putting jellified chicken stock in dumplings so they melt when these bags of gold get steamed up?

I got the recipe from Steamy Kitchen. She does a pretty comprehensive write up on the making of XLB, even posting a slideshow of how to make the XLB folds.

A few notes:

– I didn’t read the recipe properly so ended up topping the jelly on the mince before ‘wrapping up’. Mix the jelly into the mince so it’s easier to handle.
– The dough wasn’t coming together in the beginning after all the liquids went in so we added more water. Big mistake. Spent lots of time adding more flour because it had then become too wet.
– I had forgotten to buy wombok so ended up cutting holes in baking paper and laying it on the steamer. Use wombok. It adds that element of natural sweetness and would work so much better than baking paper all holed out.

The recipe is composed of three components: the jelly, the mince, the dough. Simple. It does take a bit of time, but it is definitely not difficult.

xiao long bao (recipe from steamy kitchen)


chicken or pork bones (sufficient to be submerged in water)
5 cups water
1 knob of ginger
2 tbsp shaoxing wine
dash of salt
1 tbsp agar agar/gelatin powder

1. place all ingredients and bring to a rapid boil for 30 mins then turn down the heat.
2. simmer for another hour (making sure to check the water level every now and then).
3. take 4 cups of stock and dissolve agar agar/gelatin in the stock
4. pour into container and chill in the fridge for 3-6 hours.
5. cut into 1.5cm cubes (~ish)


360g all purpose flour (+ extra to dust counter top)
3/4 cup boiling hot water
1/4 cup cold water
1 tbsp cooking oil

1. pour the flour into a bowl and use a pair of chopsticks to stir vigorously while adding in 1/3 of the hot water. add a bit more and stir more. rinse and repeat until no more hot water.
2. add the oil and cold water  into the dough, stirring continuously until it comes together. (note: do not feel tempted to add more water to make it come together. the dough would be too wet)
3. dust the counter top and knead the dough for about 8-10 mins. it is ready if the dough bounces back to shape slowly after poking it with your finger.
4. wrap with cling film and rest it for 30 mins.


500g mince (pork/chicken)
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp shaoxing wine
1 tsp sesame oil
(wombok for steaming)

1. incorporate all ingredients in a bowl.
2. cut about 1 cup of the jelly in a criss-cross fashion and mix into the mince.
3. set aside until ready to use.


1. divide dough into 4 parts and roll out into a log. cut each dough log into 10 equal parts.
2. roll each small lump of dough into a circular piece and put a teaspoon of mince in the centre.
3. pinch one part of the dough circumference to the adjacent bit of dough. do this continuously along the circumference of the dough till it seals up. (really should have done a video of it)


1. boil a wok full of water.
2. line a bamboo steamer (or any steamer) with wombok  and place XLB into the steamer.
3. steam for 10-12 mins on high heat
4. enjoy!!!

Try it try it!! Make sure you season it enough though. You won’t regret it!




Holy shit! You ACTUALLY MADE XLB?! That’s … WOW. I’ve always thought of the delicacy as something to eat and go ‘now I wonder how they made that …’, and not ever be possible to make without X months of training.

This is truly quite something.

by Eli James on December 22, 2012 at 2:39 pm. Reply #

haha yes we made XLB! it’s a lot more fun with friends. it’s easy making it but harder to perfect it. you should try it someday!

by kim on December 22, 2012 at 5:10 pm. Reply #

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